Freelance tasks add up and build up. They chase our brains right around the corner, keep us awake with potential at night, and even harden into the guilt for the freelance tasks we’re yet to complete.
Because there’s always potential for more marketing, more work, more advertising and more clients, detaching from work sounds like a strange one, right? But we all deserve a break.
It’s about making sure you aren’t haunted by things you need to do. When we let the sticky fingers of work reach all over our lives, we don’t allow ourselves enough rest. Checking emails on the weekend, planning plans on a Sunday, working while on holiday. They sound like the bells of diligence and dedication. But they have an accumulative cost. Being hyper-connected to work, work related questions (e.g. via Facebook groups, forums and associations) and being available all the time is not that good for you.
There’s a sense of obligation, inescapable connection, that comes with such connectivity. We train ourselves to be constantly connected.
And that in turn means we start believing work is the most important thing in life. It isn’t.
That’s why gaining proper perspective and detaching from freelance tasks is oh so important. Here’s why
Do you really think the old age homes echo with statements like, “I am going to miss the Pantone colour of the year announcement”?
Or that tombstones read, “I could raise my prices better than anyone”?
My work in death literacy shows a different trend. Most elderly and dying people talk about the importance of family and friendship. They’re happy to share the wonderful places they have been. They want you to know the people that made their life whole. They want you to laugh, cry and admire the adventures they experienced. Work is a part of that in some respects. But it’s never the whole ball game. It’s a source of money. It is also a sense of accomplishment. It can be a part of our identity. It can be something we adore.
But it is by no means the whole ballgame.
When we over-invest in work, it’s hard to switch off. It keeps us up at night. It makes us cancel plans, strip away self-care and forgo the relationships that help nourish us.
Work and those niggling freelance tasks creep into our minds and ping across the synapses. We’re trained to want this life because it means we produce more goods, services and tax. In a lot of respects, we’re sold the idea that if we’re busy and in motion, we will continue to be worthwhile.
But who are you without work? If you don’t know, shouldn’t you do something about that?
Try this on for size- ask yourself what is great about you that isn’t work related.
- What’s your personal legacy?
- What is it about you that people who didn’t experience the working version of you will remember?
- What is special, valuable and endearing about you outside of work?
Focus on the you outside work and enjoy the difference.
Ways to kick-start detachment from work and freelance tasks:
· Finish your day with a line in the sand – end the day with a walk, exercise class, dog walk or something with the kids that is solid and repeated
· Remove social media apps from your phone– learn to be engaged with your community or business on your own terms, not Facebook’s
· Switch off the internet from after dinner onwards– that way, everyone gets a mini break from the digital world
· Leave the laptop alone on weekends and holidays – you’ll be surprised how well people learn to cope without you being on call for their every whim
· Choose your associations wisely- surrounded by peers that reflect your values. And bypass the ones obsessed with money, social media likes or their public persona
· Reward yourself at the end of the day- celebrate the harder times! Have a bath with a great book. Cook up a storm. Try crafting, watering the garden or something else that requires your full attention
· Recheck your focus- what do you talk about in your off hours with friends, family and your partner? If you find it’s work related, especially complaining about work, try cutting back or changing the subject entirely
· Share a laugh – going to a comedy show, watching a funny TV show, having a night out with a fun friend, tell a funny story about your day, writing some skits. It all helps to relieve tension, give you perspective and relax
· Make friends a focus – one of the things work-obsessives often do is isolate themselves. We choose the creative work over the real world. But friendship, family connection and spending time with others helps us to maintain perspective
Whenever you find yourself thinking about work in the off hours or becoming serious and consumed by work moments during the day, step back. Look for the chance to break the cycle.
Add in some self-care and remind yourself that while work is great, it’s the sidelines. It’s most definitely not the whole ball game.
Plan to do 3 things that help you detach from work in the next week. Enjoy the difference.